ZEPHYRHILLS — The City Council on Friday night selected a replacement for retiring longtime City Manager Steve Spina, but it's not a done deal yet.
The council voted unanimously to offer the job to James D. Drumm, 48, who most recently was city manager of High Springs for six years. In September, the City Commission there voted to terminate him for what he cites as "philosophical differences" after a change in government, but he resigned before the commission's final vote.
Drumm and Zephyrhills officials still have to negotiate his contract before he is officially hired. The hope is to complete the process by the end of this week, City Clerk Linda Boan said Saturday.
"I like him very much," said Boan, who is among the staff members who work most closely with the city manager. "He seems to be a very knowledgeable person."
After an initial cut from 30 applicants to six, council members had narrowed the finalists down to three. On Friday night, they met first for a social hour and then a second interview with the final three, including former Port Richey City Manager Richard Reade and former Williston City Manager and Airport Manager James F. Coleman.
After about an hour of council deliberation, Drumm came out on top, Boan said.
Before serving as city manager of High Springs, Drumm had his own management/planning consultant business. He also served as city manager in Lake Alfred, assistant city manager in Auburndale, management analyst for Hernando County, and personnel specialist for the Southwest Florida Water Management District. He has touted his experience in community redevelopment and growth management, and says he's skilled at bringing people together.
Spina, who makes $94,420 annually, will end his 15-year tenure as city manager June 30. His successor is expected to earn between $70,000 and $105,000.